There are great advantages gained by making decisions based on data.   Instead of guessing, you will know that you are building each new decision on knowledge that has been gained from previous decisions. You can quickly find research reports from reputable research firms, such as Pew Internet Research, on most topics relevant to your.  Reports from these firms are very helpful in understanding general consumer behavior and market trends. Online tools provide information on every aspect of your business and services, in addition to providing information on your competitors.  When you look at the information from many of these tools in combination, you can get a complete picture of how effective the user experience you offer is. In areas where research reports and online tools do not provide the answers, you can gain the information that you need from user testing.

Online Tools

Online tools can provide a picture of a thread of your user experience when they are combined.  Here is an example: You are working on getting more users to your web site and your current focus is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • You start by using a keyword research tool, to determine the popularity of search phrases relevant to your business.
  • You then use a different tool to determine the level of competition for the search phrases you are interested in.
  • You can use yet another tool to determine what content on your current site, is considered most relevant on your site.
  • You can also find out which search phrases are currently showing your site in their results and which search phrases users are clicking on.
  • Lets say you select a search phrase and create content that you want to appear in search result for this given phrase.
  • With the appropriate tools you will know
    • How effective your new page is, i.e. how many users leave it immediately
    • How much time users spend on your page
    • Where they are most likely to go on your site from that page
    • Whether users take actions that you want them to, i.e. what percentage of users landing on the page, bought a product.
    • If you make changes to your page, you will be able to determine whether:
      • More users saw the page in search results
      • More users clicked on the search results
      • More users that came to the page bought a product or took your desired action.
You can continually optimize your business, to gain success over time.  This is why data driven decisions are the key to online success.